Democrat Scott Kleeb GRD ’06 was defeated by Republican Adrian Smith in the heavily Republican third district of Nebraska. Kleeb’s communications director Ben Lumpkin ’96 said the race was surprisingly close for such a historically Republican district. With 75 percent of precincts reporting at the time of his concession, Kleeb had received 45 percent of the vote to Smith’s 55 percent.
Though Kleeb lost, he did entice some Republican voters to cross party lines.
“This is a district where no pundit would have predicted a Democratic win,” Lumpkin said. “[In] Custer County, which is his home county and [where] registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 10 to one, Scott Klebb won 2554 to 2414 to Smith. I can guarantee if you look in the history books, you won’t see a result like that.”
In a district that is 54 percent rural. Kleeb ran on a platform based on agricultural and economic issues and providing technology to more isolated, rural areas. Kleeb studied international relations and history at Yale.
Critics have pointed out Kleeb’s relative lack of political experience. Smith served for four years on the Gering City Council and for two terms in the Nebraska State Legislature.
Lumpkin said that despite his loss, Kleeb remains dedicated to a career in public service.
“Scott has made it clear that he is committed to public service and he is committed to the state of Nebraska,” he said.